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Inside the Beltway

- The Washington Times - Monday, July 25, 2011

TARGETING CHRISTIE

"A strong public interest exists in knowing whether the executive in charge of the nations most-watched cable newschannel is acting as a political consultant to a prospective Republican presidential candidate. As journalists, plaintiffs may properly assert that public interest as a basis for obtaining these records."

(From a lawsuit against New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey on behalf of John Cook, a reporter for the online gossip site Gawker.com.)

"We're seeking records of Christie's communications with Fox News chairman Roger Ailes. Christie claims they should remain secret under the state's executive privilege. We disagree," Mr. Cook says, citing a New York magazine account that claims Mr. Christie and Mr. Ailes "have a relationship" and dined together at the news executive's weekend home in Putnam County, N.Y.

TERROR FROM WHERE?

Is it "terror from the Left?" asks Instapundit and Pajamas Media contributor Glenn Reynolds, after news that the office of Americans for Tax Reform, located just five blocks from the White House, was evacuated Monday after a bomb threat.

"The police are conducting an investigation," spokesman John Kartch tells Inside the Beltway. The nonprofit was founded in 1985 by Grover Norquist, at the behest of President Reagan.

"You know, that happened to D.C. tea party organizers, too," Mr. Reynolds adds, recalling an unpleasant incident in 2009 when FreedomWorks, a conservative group founded by Dick Armey, received a bomb threat and also was evacuated.

HOLA, PRESIDENTE OBAMA

Relations between the White House and a pivotal voting bloc are cooling. Dismayed Latinos say they are "victims of White House immigration policies," claiming that President Obama has deported more people than any other president in history. And they march on the White House on Tuesday, with Democratic firepower.

CASA de Maryland, CARECEN, Familias Unidas, Progressive Maryland and five other organizations will rally, they say, to remember 1 million deportees and "hear chilling stories of families caught in broken administrative policies." Joining them: Reps. Raul M. Grijalva of Arizona, Luis V. Gutierrez of Illinois, Michael M. Honda of California and John Lewis of Georgia.

What they all want: "A stay on the deportations of DREAM Act students and parents of U.S. citizen children and lifting of the 10-year re-entry bar for parents, the termination of local law enforcement immigration programs such as Secure Communities, and the cancellation of administration policies that risk work-site organizing and worker rights such as E-Verify."

THE BIG EDIT

Oh, the irony: A Media Research Center analysis finds that some White House-friendly broadcasters ignore the public's opposition to an increased debt ceiling — even when its documented by their own polls.

"CBSs poll showed that 49 percent of the public opposes raising the debt ceiling, and NBCs poll showed 43 percent. But neither network reported these findings," the study says. "CNN on-air hosts scandalously ignore the fact that their polling found 66 percent of Americans supported the House GOP's 'Cut, Cap and Balance' plan and that 74 percent would support a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution.

AND IN SUMMATION

"The plan that we just introduced to our members is a well thought out and reasoned plan in which no side gets all that they want."

Rep. Eric Cantor, Virginia Republican, on short-term House solutions to defuse the debt-ceiling debate, proposed on Monday.

TICK TOCK

Judging from hair-raising White House predictions, the nation is headed for Implosion Tuesday. Soon. Indeed, there's only a week — 168 hours — before Aug. 2 dawns and the debt-ceiling deadline arrives. Whether it proves to be Armageddon and/or the end of the space-time continuum remains to be seen.

But we might as well be accurate.

From the Bipartisan Policy Center — founded once upon a time by former Sens. Robert Dole, Howard Baker, Tom Daschle and George Mitchell — comes the Debt Limit Deadline Countdown Clock.

For better or worse, the clock's digital numbers click away the seconds, minutes, hours and days left until White House and Republicans must kiss and make up, kick the can down the road or remain in brazen deadlock. See the clock at www.bipartisanpolicy.org, along with an analysis and "debt tools" revealing what needs to be paid.

IT'S NOT ALL DEBT

Folks are taking care of business elsewhere in the House. On Tuesday, the subcommittee on cybersecurity, infrastructure protection and security technologies will conduct a hearing titled "The last line of defense: federal, state, and local efforts to prevent nuclear and radiological terrorism within the United States."

Way to go. And thanks.

POLL DU JOUR

• 87 percent of Americans favor a law requiring doctors to inform women about possible risks of abortion before the procedure.

• 95 percent of Republicans, 89 percent of women, 84 percent of Democrats and 84 percent of men agree.

• 71 percent overall favor a law requiring women under 18 to get parental consent before having an abortion.

• 83 percent of Republicans, 89 percent of women, 84 percent of men and 60 percent of Democrats agree.

• 64 percent overall favor a law making partial-birth abortion illegal.

• 72 percent of Republicans, 67 percent of men, 62 percent of women and 59 percent of Democrats agree.

• 40 percent overall favor a law prohibiting abortion clinics from receiving federal funds.

• 58 percent of Republicans, 43 percent of men, 37 percent of women and 25 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A Gallup Poll of 1,020 adults conducted July 15 to 17.

Astute observations, press releases to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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